I am a Palestinian before I am Australian, a 17 year old girl, lucky enough to be living safely in Australia. I am the daughter and granddaughter of refugees who come from a small village called Yibna, with over 80 of my family members currently grounded in Gaza. Multiple killed by the ongoing aggression in Gaza, yet despite this there always remains a promise that Jerusalem is in fact ours. This essence is captured in the poem below “.القدس لنا (Jerusalem is ours.)”:

My name is Lujane Aladdin Saleh Mohammad Ibrahim Abuelwan 

Names that trace back to the land 

Written in Arabic – the mother tongue by hand

Names that trace back ancestry that lace history

The one that writes victory

It was always written for us

 .القدس لنا (Jerusalem is ours.)

 

انتي روح ارواحنا يا فلسطين (You are the soul of our souls Palestine) 

Our soul is dying yet we live

The land of peace yet the peace is dead

Blood and tears; all thats shed 

Countries of “democracy”

Yet all they embody is hypocrisy

 

حفيد النكبة (The grandchild of the nakba)

Its in your blood and you should too 

Echo their voices 

So that it marks history

Just as the martyrs have marked their blood on our hearts too 

 

Flares that light up the night sky 

As they look up, not kites, but rockets that fly

Children don’t remember the last time it was blue

Or rather when their kites last flew

 

The universal declaration of “human rights”

More like the one that dehumanises our plight

“Terrorists”, they call us as we fight

The one that forced Palestinians across the world

 

Article 26: everyone has the right to education undoubtedly

What about the announcement of the end of the schooling year?

There are no children left my dear

Universities are gone; its clear

 

علمنا هي سلاحنا (our knowledge is our weapon)

As my mother tells me always

Victory is only a call away

So I study hard everyday;

For you ya filasteen

 

Article 15: The right to live safely in your land in peace

What about the refugees in their own homeland?

Or the laws by the occupiers that have everything banned 

 

Article 3: Every child has the right to live

What about the average age of death: 5 years old?

 

The ink has dried from the pens

Messages no longer appearing from their friends

Alive or not; they’ll never know

If their family dies

Where will they go?

لات خافي يا حبيبتي (Don’t fear my love) 

The mother reassures her child

Her embrace feels like a glove

The glove of reassurance she doesn’t wear

How do I reassure my mother when her heart tears

 

I look at her and the tear that falls from how scared she is 

My heart breaks, a knife to my heart

I cant wait to tell her at last

تحررت فلسطين (Mum Palestine is free)

 

Communications cut off

Another tie to the land

You might aswell tie my other hand 

The one that yearns to touch the olives 

The one that yearns to learn tatreez 

The one teta can do with ease

 

Is this the life I used to kick my mother’s stomach for?

Or what about the dreams that faded in the fire?

Arabic writing on the walls were never liars

 

Can you hear their voice echo? 

The one that awaits us later

History is never a traitor 

It’s written. 

القدس لنا (Jerusalem is ours.)

 

– Lujane Elwan